Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Topics: Illegal drug trade, Drug addiction, Tax Pages: 5 (1770 words) Published: December 2, 2013

“With 4, 300,000 people, roughly 4.1% of the American population on welfare, the government annually spends about 132 billion dollars on welfare, which does not include either food stamps or unemployment insurance.” (DOHHS, 2012). Since the 1930s, many forms of welfare have been assisting the needy families and less fortunate of the society. However, within the past few years or so, there have been actions made to start drug testing recipients of welfare, potentially altering the whole concept of welfare. Although, only 3 states, as of now, have actually made it a law, “getting welfare and food stamps may become tougher as twenty three states around the country seek to adopt stricter laws that would require public aid recipients to take drug tests.” (Alcindor, 2012).

The act of drug testing welfare recipients would be just that, drug testing recipients. Many of the states considering this have different plans to go about it, but all would have the same general idea. For example, states like Florida are requiring that all people receiving any form of aid get tested while other states such as Missouri are requiring testing for anyone they “reasonably” suspect of drug use. Then there are some other states that are not necessarily considering drug testing, but rather creating more steps in order to receive aid. Regardless of the method used, the whole point is to attempt to keep tax dollars out of the hands of drug sellers and users and keep the system from being abused. One of the main thoughts behind it is that if a person has the means to be able to buy drugs, then there is no reason that he or she should be on any sort of public assistance.

Drug testing in today’s society is by no means a new concept. Almost all applications for any level of job require that an applicant at least be willing to submit a drug test if not actually required to take one. In order to be considered for employment, companies appreciate knowing that they are paying someone to not only work hard for them, but also that he or she is not using illicit or illegal drugs. It is a simple way for companies to be reassured that their employees have the best interests in mind for said company, not to mention it is against the law and would reflect negatively on the company. It would only make sense that if a person is required to drug test for employment in which to earn money that those earning money via public assistance are also held to that same standard. While there are those that consider it a fair and an obvious decision, there are also those who view it as unethical, unnecessary and a waste of money.

While the idea of drug testing recipients seems like an easy and obvious solution to keep the welfare program from being abused, the facts behind this sort of process are not so compelling. For example, Florida is one of the few states that very recently passed a law that would require testing and it “turned out to be so expensive that it ultimately cost the state an additional $45,780–even after savings from benefits that were denied to applicants who failed the tests. The measure failed to move forward in part because only 2.6% of applicants did not pass the test–a rate three times lower than the percentage of estimated of illegal drug users in Florida.” (Whitaker, 2012). With numbers like that, the act of drug testing definitely carries pros and cons with it that not only affect those on welfare but society and the government as a whole.

Just the mere discussion of drug testing recipients has managed to spring up quite a controversy throughout the country recently and has citizens and government officials alike questioning whether or not this is the right direction to go to save on tax dollars. The popular opinion with this particular subject is one of saving money and also cutting back on the drug use in today’s society. “Many people agree that it is not fair that taxpayers should have to pay for...

Cited: Alcindor, Yamiche. (2/29/2012). “States Consider Drug Testing Welfare Recipients.” Retrieved
from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-02-17/welfare-food-
Department of Health and Human Services. (10/15/2012) “Welfare Statistics.” Retrieved from
Editorial Board. (11/17/2012). “Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Not a Priority.” Retrieved from
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